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Abraham Derksen 1866-1926
Abraham J. Derksen was born July 19, 1866 in Russia and came to Canada as young lad. Very little is known of his youth, only a bit of oral history. Wben he was quit young, one of his parents died and he was raised by another family. He also had a brother, Aaron, and a sister, a Mrs. Sawatzky.
Abraham married Maria Penner on Dec. 29, 1887. She was born Dec. 31, 1864 to Jacob and Katharina (nee Friesen) Penner. The Penners had come to Canada on the S,S, Sardinian. This ship had arrived in Quebec City on July 30, 1876. The Penners then moved to southern Manitoba.
By the latter 1880's, the possibility of obtaining homestead land was becoming very slim, so Abraham, his wife Maria and her parents moved to North Dakota. Many other Mennonites also were part of this movement, which also included Mennonites moving to Oregon, Kansas and Minnesota. Because of this itime spent in the U.S.A., Abraham later become knowas the " States Derksen," differentiate him from other Derksens in the vicinity.
In 1908, the Derksens settled in the area known as the Krim, approx. 10 miles south of Aberdeen, Sask. It is possible that some of the settlers from the Crimea Sea area in Russia (also called the Krim) and/or that new Saskatchewan home reminded them of their old home in Russia.
The Derksens homesteaded the NE18 Tp37 R2 w of 3. In July of 1908, they built a 14 x 40 framed house valued at $300.00. They also built a 16 x24 framed stable valued at $100.00. They also made the following improvements: in 1909 they broke 15 acres and cropped 15, in 1910 they broke 45 acres and cropped 45 and in [a line is cut off] cropped 70. There was also 30 acres fenced and valued at $60.00. They also owned a wide variety of animals each year.
Sometime later, the Derksens moved from their homestead, to a farm north of Aberdeen. They settled near the banks of the South Saskatchewan River. This was to Mr. Derksen's liking, for here he could fish. He enjoyed fishing for sturgeon, as the photo indicates.
He also enjoyed hunting the coyotes in the area. This was done with specially traified dogs, which chased and killed the coyote they . were pursuing. They were generally greyhounds called "en Winthund" in Low German (meaning wind or air dogs because of their ability to run distances at great speeds).
Mr. Derksen was also talented as a chiropractor and many people came to him to have their 'bones set.'
He passed away at his farm on Aug. 18, 1926, and is buried at the Bergthaler Church cemetery north of Aberdeen.
Mrs. Maria Derksen then remarried to Abram Sawatzky, the operator of the ferry at the Hague crossing.
Mrs Derksen was also very talented midwife, delivering many babies into the world. She passed away in April 1957, at the age of 92. She is also buried at the Bergthaler cemetery with her first husband.
Mr. Cornelius Derksen of Martensville, a grandson the Derksens, contributed the' photographs and much of the information.
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Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan (MHSS)
Room 900 - 110 La Ronge Road, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7K 7H8
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